American Express Snaps Up LoungeBuddy In Its Second Acquisition For 2019

You may not be able to get more leg room on your flight, but at least you can stretch out before boarding. As airlines have expanded their lounge offerings over the years, other companies are getting into the travel-experience space. Most recent example? On Monday, AmericanExpress acquired LoungeBuddy, a booking app for lounges, for an undisclosed amount.

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American Express has been partnering with LoungeBuddy since 2017, according to the press release. Specifically, LoungeBuddy supplied information (such as lounge ratings and reviews) that could be accessed via the American Express mobile app. The acquisition will allow LoungeBuddy to “further deliver” on these services, said Zac Altman, co-founder and CTO of the startup, in the press release.

Since its inception in 2013, San Francisco-based LoungeBuddy had raised $4 million. In 2015, Founders Fund led its $3 million Series A round, which also included participation from a slew of others such as Maiden Lane Ventures and Pathfinder. Other entrepreneurs and investors Tyler Willis, Robert Cohen, and Stephen Mendel also contributed to the round.

Chris Cracchiolo, a senior executive at American Express, said the acquisition shows the company’s commitment to enhancing travel benefits for its premium card members.

LoungeBuddy will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of American Express upon closure of the deal, which is expected to take place in April.

Notably, this is not American Express’s first foray into booking services.

According to Crunchbase data, American Express acquired one other company earlier this year: Japan-based Pocket Concierge. That startup helps book in-demand restaurants and is similar to OpenTable. In 2018, it also acquired Mezi, an AI-powered personal travel assistant, and Cake Technologies, a digital payments startup that wants to make it easier to pay at bars and restaurants, for $13.3 million.

iStockPhoto / Orbon Alija

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